Delhi University’s Culture Council’s decision to organise a magic show has caused teachers and the administration to express discontent over the priorities of the university. Scheduled to be conducted on May 3rd, the council claims the magic show is being organised to promote “scientific temperament” among the students. The unrest is caused amongst the prevailing issues at the university, specifically over the shortage of funds to distribute overdue salaries and pensions.
Delhi University’s (DU) decision to organise a magic show, to be hosted on May 3rd has met with contempt among the teachers. Teachers have raised concerns over the priorities and rationale of the University for organising a magic show that will lead to a “severe crunch of funds”. The programme is to be organised by the University’s Culture Council and the magic show will be performed by the famous Jadugar Samrat Shankar.
The purpose of the show, according to a representative of the University, is to foster in the students a scientific temperament. A group of teachers opposed the decision, claiming that the magic show was a “sheer wastage of public money” and noting that other R&D grants and innovation initiatives had been halted owing to a lack of funding.
“One should not forget that Delhi University (DU) is not Hogwarts. When the official committee itself has acknowledged severe crunch of funds for library, laboratory, infrastructure development and research, spending public money on magic shows is sheer wastage,” Rajesh Jha, a former Executive Council member of DU, criticised.
Jha, a professor at the university’s Rajdhani College, stated that DU should be a centre that encourages research excellence and spread scientific ideology.
“The R&D grant and innovation projects have been discontinued. The development fund collected from students was increased by 150 per cent. In such a scenario of fund crisis, organising a magic show is putting unnecessary pressure on the finance of the university,” he stated.
The magic show has also been introduced amid claims of non-payment of salaries to pensioners and teachers under the university. However, the university defended its decision by reasoning that 5 lakhs are not an exorbitant expenditure compared to the tens of lakhs of rupees charged by singers.
“Nobody has to pay for the magic show. But the entry is through registration. We are taking out money from the centenary celebration fund. The amount is not big. For big shows, colleges pay in lakhs. This amount is nothing. “We are organising this show to build scientific temperament among the students. Around 3,000 people are expected to attend the show. The magician is renowned across India and he is charging us a very less amount,” the official representative stated.
Assistant Professor of Miranda House, Abha Dev Habib, mentioned that instead of a magic show, the university should have conducted a seminar where researchers could have shared some scientific insights.
“At a time when the university is facing various issues, money is being wasted on such programmes. It could have been a seminar organised by the alumna, former students and researchers that the university has produced,” she stated.
“On one hand, they (DU) are seeking Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA) loans citing fund crunch, and on the other hand, they are hosting a magic show,” a representative from the Academic Council reprimanded.
Image Credits: DU Beat
Sri Sidhvi Dindi